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A year older but none the wiser, we’ve once again summoned our crystal ball for a look forward to the 19 good, bad and ugly trends that will define men’s lives in 2019.
We’ve got good news for the Midwest, indie-rock fans and people who hate going to the gym. And also some bad: for internet addicts, sports dynasties and frat bros.
But before you take any to Vegas, just remember: all predictions wrong or your money back.
Wanna see how we did on our 2018 predictions? You can check those out here.
1. The presidential race will consume our national attention early and often
With the midterms firmly behind us, the campaign for the 2020 presidential election is underway, Senator Elizabeth Warren having officially launched an exploratory committee earlier this week. Donald Trump, meanwhile, had already raised more than $100m for his campaign as of October. If these maneuvers seem like they’re arriving earlier than ever, they’re not. But given the polarizing nature of Trump’s first two years in office — not to mention the fact that every Tweet he sends generates headlines — expect the 2020 race to captivate our collective headspace at unprecedented levels.
2. You will go on a diet — of the digital variety
The relationship between internet addiction and mental health has inspired a deluge of scholarly research in recent years, and the conclusion is clear: the average American spends far too much online, and its effects are sinister, with loneliness and depression chief among them. Hence the emergence of resources and treatments that devote themselves to digital nutrition, which one writer defines as, “healthful consumption of digital assets … and smarter decision-making, aided by greater transparency around the composition and behavioral consequences of specific types of digital content.” Still looking for a resolution? Try the 30-day digital detox challenge (after finishing this article, of course).
3. Fraternity culture will be forced to reckon with its sins
After the highly publicized death of Penn State student and Beta Theta Phi pledge Tim Piazza in 2017, the state of Pennsylvania signed its first anti-hazing laws into effect last year, becoming the 45th state to do so. Eighteen of Piazza’s peers have been arraigned on criminal charges, with a final decision on their guilt due early this year (though the most serious charges have already been dropped across the board). While it is clear that Piazza’s death — the 19th of its kind since 2010 — has brought greater scrutiny to the subject than ever, similar incidents seem an inevitability without massive internal reform or more aggressive prosecution. Otherwise, the American fraternity as we know it could face a far graver fate.
4. Forgotten Midwestern cities will become cultural destinations
Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Detroit, Cleveland, Kansas City: probably not at the top of the “Spring Break 2020?” note you have pinned to your refrigerator. But maybe they should be. Urban-renewal projects have abounded throughout the Midwest 0f late, with intrepid retailers, chefs, artists and musicians seeing an opportunity to flourish and experiment without the financial pressures that harangue them in, say, New York or L.A. Today, the much ballyhooed Shinola Hotel opens in Detroit, while a major consulting firm recently named Pittsburgh the top American food city for 2019. Why spend hundreds to stay in Brooklyn or Silverlake when you can get the same sights and sounds — and less of the corporate influence — for a fraction of the cost?
5. Hotels will prioritize public spaces over private ones
You don’t go on vacation to sit in your hotel room — that’s the theory that a slew of new hotel brands like Arlo, the Ace and Freehand are embracing as they develop their brands around the globe, pairing small, well-appointed rooms with lavish, luxurious shared spaces (think restaurants, bars, rooftops and the like). In doing so, the hotels are positioning themselves not just as refuges for travelers, but also hip hangouts for locals … which in turn makes them more desirable to consumers seeking the “authentic” vibe that has propelled the likes of Airbnb to the fore of the hospitality industry.
6. Public lands will continue to be an afterthought
The Trump administration has not been kind to America’s protected spaces. In 2017, a move was made to shrink two National Monuments — Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante — by nearly 85% of their acreage. More recently, the Land and Water Conservation Fund lost federal funding, which puts a number of beloved areas, including the Zion Narrows, in danger. Now tales of the government shutdown’s impact on National Park maintenance are leaking out, and the picture isn’t pretty. With these places clearly an afterthought for the foreseeable future, it becomes the duty of citizens to ensure their vitality. You can read more about volunteer opportunities here.
7. At the movies, crime will pay
True crime has been reliable fodder for podcasts and TV, and Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese are both pinning their returns to the silver screen on the genre in 2019: Tarantino with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which depicts the Manson murders, and Scorsese with The Irishman, which will reunite Joe Pesci and Robert DeNiro for a riff on the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa.
8. The titans of 2000s indie rock will make their final stand
When Lizzie Goodman’s Meet Me in the Bathroom, the definitive history of New York’s early-aughts indie rock scene — think LCD Soundsystem, The Strokes, Interpol, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Vampire Weekend et al. — came out in 2017, it felt like a capstone of sorts. But while only one of those bands, Vampire Weekend, is due for an album release in 2019, it’s hard to imagine the movement going out with a whimper. Expect festival headline sets from bands of their ilk this summer, as well as a surprise return to the studio for at least one of them.
9. Your home will get smarter whether you like it or not
Keeping “connected” devices — and the security concerns that come with them — out of your home is no longer as simple as telling your brother-in-law not to buy you an Alexa for Christmas. Consumer-electronics companies are going all in on the trend, to the extent that un-connected appliances may soon be obsolete. Rather than trying to avoid their inevitable invasion, consider protecting yourself with security tools like Akita, which we like to think of as a digital watchdog for the connected home.
10. The world of streaming entertainment will overwhelm you
This year, Apple, Disney and AT&T are set to join Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and countless other with their own proprietary streaming services. While none of the major players seems to be in imminent danger of folding, smaller services — like the now-defunct FilmStruck — will continue to fall as cable and satellite TV providers scramble to collect new assets, since cord-cutting shows no signs of stopping. But where once this refreshingly democratic system was good news for you, the end user, at some point there is simply too much damn content to choose from.
11. You will eat lab-grown meat
Maybe it’ll be on purpose. Maybe it’ll be on a dare. Maybe it’ll be a dirty trick your vegan friend plays on guests at his annual BBQ. No matter how it happens, you’ll probably take a bite at some point … and you probably won’t know the difference. Sustainable and increasingly cost-effective, the industry is blooming, with the renowned Impossible Burger — currently only available at restaurants — due to hit grocery stores later this year.
12. “Luxury” cars will favor the needs of passengers over drivers
Last summer, we spent a weekend in Upstate New York familiarizing ourselves with Buick’s upscale “Avenir” line, which comprises three models. With their sweeping lines and long, languid bodies, the cars look more German than American, and that continues inside, where you’ll find everything from in-seat massagers to wireless charging stations to, in the case of the Enclave (a crossover), a leather-swaddled third row that can comfortably fit actual adult humans. The design here is emblematic of a larger trend in the auto world: putting the needs of the rider as passenger (i.e., comfort and functionality) over those of the rider as driver (i.e., performance). Why? Because as we inch closer and closer toward a world in which self-driving cars are the norm, those are the only characteristics that will matter.
13. The Warriors’ dynasty will fall
It was once a foregone conclusion that the Golden State Warriors — now unencumbered by LeBron James and the Cavaliers emerging, like clockwork, from the Eastern Conference each year — would win a fourth NBA Championship in five years this spring. But after some reshuffling in the free-agency and trade markets, a raft of new contenders have risen in the East. Meanwhile, in-fighting, an ageing bench and lurking doubts over contracts have the Warriors looking surprisingly human in a topsy-turvy Western Conference. Should the Dubs fail to win the Finals — or even reach them — a power shift seems imminent, with superstar forward and known ship-jumper Kevin Durant free to sign with any team in the league come summer.
14. …And so will the Patriots’ — even if they win the Super Bowl
In their 18 seasons together, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have reached the Super Bowl eight times, winning five of them. Over that same period, they have made predictions of their demise look foolish many times over. But Father Time, they say, is undefeated, and this may well be the season he finally catches up to them. The Pats posted a paltry 3-5 road record in 2018, with Brady repeatedly unable to conjure the devastatingly efficient comebacks that were once his hallmark. He enters the playoffs looking like the fourth-best quarterback in his conference, behind likely MVP elect Patrick Mahomes, Andrew Luck and Philip Rivers. And should New England somehow escape that gauntlet, one of two NFC stalwarts — the New Orleans Saints or the LA Rams — likely awaits. If Brady and Belichick manage to pull this one off, it’s hard not to imagine them riding off into the sunset afterward.
15. You will dust off your relaxed-fit jeans — for real this time
“For the record, dad jeans are not cool again,” GQ resoundingly declared in 2013. But last July, the UK version of the same authority revised that stance, this time labeling skinny jeans “for chumps.” So what’s the verdict? While slouchy, high-rise jeans have been in vogue on runways and the streets of fashion-forward cities like New York and Paris for a couple years now, we say this is the year they finally go mainstream, with big-box retailers embracing the style and actual dads everywhere pulling their old Eddie Bauer relaxed-fits out of the closet (which, ironically, will probably kill the trend just as quickly as it got started).
16. The gym will come to you
Last year, home fitness startup Peloton added two new products to its flagship spin cycle: a treadmill and an app that allows user to stream up to 20 weight-training and fitness classes a day. In August, they announced a Series F funding of $550 million at a valuation of $4 billion. Imitators and spinoffs have cropped up as well, like Zwift, which gamifies running and cycling routines, or the Hydrow, which is Peloton for, well, you guessed it. And on the horizon: an open-source cycling platform from the guy who designed Peloton and SoulCycle’s hardware, who we chatted with about the nascent home-fitness revolution last year.
17. Running shoes will go the way of the Nike Vaporfly 4%
The carbon-fiber-reinforced shoes were responsible for new world records at both the marathon and half-marathon distances last year, and then two independent lab studies credibly proved them to “reduce the energy costs of running,” according to the New York Times. The challenge to Nike’s competitors is clear: adapt or, to borrow footracing parlance, be left in the dust.
18. You will fall in love with American Single Malt
Until around a decade ago, the American whiskey industry subsisted almost entirely on two products: rye and bourbon. But a number of U.S. distilleries have made a name for themselves in recent years making a new product: American single malt. Closer in process and flavor to Scotch, these whiskeys — like Colorado’s fabled Stranahan or Seattle’s Westward — have now formed a commission to seek official recognition. Whether they win that bid in 2019 or not, you won’t regret picking up a bottle.
19. And kids will stop doing those stupid Fortnite dances
Hey, a guy can dream.